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Urban Legends of Ogden: BarrelHouse

Chalkboard in the basement of The Barrelhouse in Ogden.
Chalkboard in the basement of The Barrelhouse in Ogden. (Cydnee Green / The Signpost)

Rumored murders, parties and a rich history surround the BarrelHouse, located inside the Berthana. Formerly known as the Century Club, the BarrelHouse offers craft burgers and craft beer for you and your guest to enjoy while taking in the atmosphere of old wood, live music and games.

The basement houses a sports bar theme, with billiard tables, free arcades and plenty of lounge seating. Over 140 craft beers are available, 30 of which are locally brewed. The street level has more of a restaurant vibe, complete with a bar for live performances and other events. Last call is at 1 a.m., with a closing time of 2 a.m.

BarrelHouse contracts with Warrens restaurant to develop their craft burgers and beers, explained Nate Harbertson, silent partner of BarrelHouse. The decision to change the bar to BarrelHouse was made when the owners realized what they could offer Ogden through craft burgers and beer.

They didn’t just want to change the name and the menu; they wanted to renovate the entire place. The bar has a western/log cabin feel, created from the wood of barrels used in an old brewing factory in Canada. Shane McConnell, owner and general manager of BarrelHouse, talked about his search for materials. When he discovered the wood from the brewing company, he knew they had to use that wood. It is also what would ultimately inspire the bar’s name.

The Barrelhouse has a wide variety of craft beers to choose from. (Source: )
The Barrelhouse has a wide variety of craft beers to choose from. (Cydnee / The Signpost)

The Berthana building where The BarrelHouse is located, has a rich amount of history. Built in 1912, it was named after the Eccles and Dee family’s daughters, Bertha and Anna. “The building was built for them to have a place to party and the upstairs has one of the largest ballroom floors in the state,” said Harbertson.

The Berthana hosted a range of social gatherings. Later on, the place became a skating rink. However, the upstairs has been unused for years.

Marcus Clifton, the bar manager, shared an unusual story. He talked about a private room upstairs where it’s rumored that three women were butchered. “I didn’t know what took place in the room but I could feel my hair standing when I walked in,” Clifton said. “It was later I was told about what happened.”

There is a back area that employees can access through the basement as an informal break room or place to hang out after work.  Clifton talked about an employee who was back there playing the piano when all of the keys slammed down. While no one is actually able to confirm if there is indeed paranormal activity taking place, employees have stories to share.

The building’s shady history aside, BarrelHouse is an excellent bar with a Slackwater feel to it—you get the bar experience without all the troubles. All of the bartenders have to be Certified Cicerone, a nationally recognized certification to show their qualification to deliver and help with craft beer selections. The demographic is around early 20s to early 30s, with a wider age range during lunch hours. The kitchen shuts down at 9 p.m. due to Warrens’ policy.

“Coming soon we will have an after-hours food menu,” McConnell said.

Try the Berthana Burger along with one of their many craft beers and enjoy the ambience of the décor made from old brewery barrels. Erich Schmidt, marketing manager for BarrelHouse, also challenges the non-beer drinker to come find a craft beer they enjoy.

“With our selection we have a beer for just about anyone,” Schmidt said. “I myself brought someone in here who doesn’t like beer and we were able to find them one they enjoy.”

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